News and Notes from the Virginia General Assembly
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Each week, the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce selects a Legislator of the Week and invites him/her to highlight key pieces of legislation that are important to the Hampton Roads business community. Below is Delegate Mathew James’ statement on HB841 and HB839.
“This year, two of the most important pieces of legislation that I sponsored were HB841 and HB839. HB841 clarifies the relationship between two existing economic development incentives, major business facility jobs credits and enterprise zone job creation grants, so as to allow a business creating permanent, full time jobs to be eligible for both incentives so long as each project is creating new net jobs to Virginia. HB839 conforms the definition of “defective drywall” in the Virginia code to more closely mirror federal and other states' descriptions. This bill increases the ability of some Virginia manufacturers to sell their products.
Both of these bills are statewide bills that received bipartisan, administration and industry support. Both will encourage economic development by creating new jobs and investment in the Commonwealth.”
Delegate Matthew James
Budget Conferees Named
Lacey Putney (I-19th)
Kirk Cox (R-66th)
Chris Jones (R-76th)
Steve Landes (R-25th)
Beverly Sherwood (R-29th)
Johnny Joannou (D-79th)
Walter Stosch (R-12th)
Chuck Colgan (D-29th)
Janet Howell (D-32nd)
Emmett Hanger (R-24th)
John Watkins (R-10th)
Budget Conference Committee Works Despite Absence of Official Budget
The House and Senate Budget conferees are working in small groups on specific budget areas like education and economic development. A special session to break the budget stalemate has been called by the Governor. The General Assembly will convene to consider a budget "proforma" on March 21 and reconvene on April 18 for the "veto" session.
On March 7, members of the Uranium Sub-committee of the Coal and Energy Commission met to review the work plan in place to develop the assessment on lifting the moratorium on uranium mining.
Governor McDonnell directed the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and Environmental Quality and Health to provide information for assessments. There will be an emphasis on the proper way to regulate and monitor uranium mining and milling if the moratorium is lifted. Eighteen specific tasks are assigned to the three state agencies.
The assessment must include a draft statutory and conceptual regulatory framework that could be used to govern all aspects of mining and milling in the Commonwealth.
Four meetings are planned:
June – mine permitting, environmental impact analysis and environmental monitoring of mine sites, disposal of mine waste and reclamation
August – water quality, air quality, and waterworks
October – public health and safety, mill licensing, tailings storage, site closure, drinking water
November – worker health, emergency preparedness, financial impact
Study Resolutions of Interest to Business
HB777 - Evaluates tax preferences, established joint sub-committee
HJR50 (Stolle) and SJR76 (Northam) - Institute of Marine Science study of the strategies to prevent recurrent flooding
HJR85 (Purkey) - Study of multiplier effects of manufacturing tax credits, machinery and tools tax credits, and technology/nanotechnology tax credits as well as public-private investment programs.
Passenger Rail Funding
The number of Virginia’s regional trains grew 79% over the last five years. The funding for rail was contained in SB29, SB30, and HB30. The regional trains in Virginia are two of the top three best performing routes in Amtrak’s national system. HB30 and SB30 contained $26 million over the next two years for the sustained operation of Virginia’s regional trains. SB29 included an additional $57 million to capitalize IPROC for the operation of Virginia’s regional trains, invest in infrastructure and match federal funding.